Now that my cell phone bill has arrived, I feel like the Scotland trip is over. Believe me, cellular data exchange is such an integral part of my life that doubling the amount of my student loans — unsubsidized, at that — to pay off AT&T seems a pretty reasonable move.
Let it be said that I could have easily added an international data plan to my account before trucking off to Scotland, and paid something like 13¢ instead of the $552.68 I gave freely, but who has time to deal with AT&T's website? It can also be said that a very nice international data representative did give me a call about six days into the eight-day trip to let me know she was going to sign me up for this deal that would save me lots of money — and that it would go into effect that very day. Nice! So, since I assumed the dumb plan was time-sensitive (not in effect for the entire month, not retroactive), when I got home, I canceled it (from the AT&T website — the same site that won't let me add text messaging capability online but will obviously allow me to totally hose my finances in one 35-minute transaction). Woe is me, I had a very large phone bill, but it was worth every Sterling pound to email my boyfriend every night from that sweet little twin-sized Ikea bed.
Now that I know I didn't rack up an extra thou in vacation bills, I can tell you that the trip was lovely. Argyll is gorgeous country, the people are maybe the friendliest I've met abroad (which isn't to say that I didn't dig Costa Rica, still by far the most gorgeous of the countries I've visited, but they speak ENGLISH in Scotland, which helps with the being friendly thing), and drinking is an acceptable social activity. Hot damn!
Kilmun house is a renovated livery stable or some such — stocked with an Ikea kitchen fit for posh dinner parties (we had many) and big, comfy furniture in every room. We probably should have spent more time there sampling all the whisky Peter brought back from every cute little town we visited... but I guess balancing down-time with a hefty dose of sight-seeing was a good plan. We did celebrate two birthdays during the week — one salty, one sweet — and played a bunch of highly-competitive trivia games while watching the Olympics, for which the house served us well.
All-in-all, my introduction to the UK transcends the hurdles I jumped to be there. Despite the pitiful US exchange rate (I still have Scottish pounds in my wallet), that aforementioned phone bill, the horrible grade I earned for the paper I submitted while packing my suitcase, and the giant clusterfuck of a return flight that left me 45 minutes from home, Scotland was swell. Click that photo at the top of this post to see the rest of my pictures, then take a look at Peter's here, and Eileen's here.